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WHO Theme: World TB Day 2021- “Clock is Ticking”

The theme of World TB Day 2021- 'The Clock is Ticking'. Conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by global leaders.


“The progress that has been made in combating TB has been hard-won and must be intensified if we are to wipe out the TB epidemic. The End TB Strategy offers new hope to the millions of people suffering and losing their lives to TB each year. It is time to join forces to create a world free of TB.”

-Dr Eric Goosby, United Nations Special Envoy on TB

“Everyone with TB should have access to the innovative tools and services they need for rapid diagnosis, treatment and care. This is a matter of social justice, fundamental to our goal of universal health coverage. Given the prevalence of drug-resistant tuberculosis, ensuring high quality and complete care will also benefit global health security. I call for intensified global solidarity and action to ensure the success of this transformative End TB Strategy.”

-Margaret Chan, Director-General World Health Organization


What is TB?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by germs/bacteria that are spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine. A person with TB can die if they do not get treatment.

Who discovered TB?

On March 24, 1882, Dr Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB) bacillus to the small group of scientists at “The University of Berlin’s Institute of Hygiene”.His discovery about tuberculosis had opened a big door in front of the people to get diagnosed and cured of tuberculosis.

A century later, ie on the 100th anniversary of TB presentation of Dr Robert Koch “The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD)” had planned to establish 24th of March to be celebrated as an annual official event, the World TB Daya day to educate the public about the impact of TB around the world.


How the World TB day is Celebrated globally?

How World TB day is Celebrated globally

World TB Day is celebrated globally every year on 24TH March by health organizations, NGOs, government and non-government organizations including other health agencies to raise the awareness among common public all across the world about the epidemic disease, tuberculosis by organizing a variety of campaign-related activities such as debates on TB prevention and cure, award ceremonies for the organizations involved in the prevention and fight against TB, photo exhibitions showcasing images to raise awareness of TB, charity events for fundraising required to control TB and lots of activities associated with the disease prevention and cure. It mobilizes the political and social authorities for further progress towards disease prevention for the effective reduction in the TB cases and death rate in the coming years. Active participation is required by all group of people, communities, and government agencies to work together to broadcast the real messages to every person who lives in the world.

Some Important facts about TB

  • TB is the top infectious disease killer in the world
  • TB kills over 4000 people per day
  • Drug-resistant TB is a growing threat and poses another serious challenge to controlling the spread of TB worldwide.
  • TB has gripped a Fourth of the World’s population about 2 Billion people
  • More than 5,000,000 people are multi-drug resistant TB patients detected every year
  • More than 63 million lives of TB patients saved since the year 2000 by global efforts.
  • Since 1990, the mortality rate of TB has decreased by 40% all over the world.
  • Best public health investments – yielding $43 for each $1 invested
  • TB is the leading cause of death among HIV positive patients a serious Public health crisis and can be cured with the second line of drugs. Treatment takes longer (upto 2 years) & is expensive & has side -effects.
  • TB is treatable and curable. It takes 6 months with 4 drugs support and supervision for regular TB.
  • If you suspect you have TB kindly contact your Health Care provider
  • END TB.

How does it affect humans? How it spreads?

How does TB affect humans

Many of the populations most vulnerable to TB, including children, pregnant women, people living with HIV, miners, and healthcare workers, are missed by health systems and do not get the care they need.

TB is mainly an Airborne disease and can affect Anyone – Anywhere-when people with lung TB cough, sneeze, spit they propel germs into the air, spreading the disease.

What Are the Symptoms of TB?

Symptoms of TB include:

  • Coughing (Blood comes while coughing)
  • Chest Pain
  • Fever/Sickness/Weakness
  • Night Sweats
  • Weight Loss

Which Organisations are involved in TB Control & Prevention Globally?

Which Organisations are involved in TB Control & Prevention Globally

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Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), IUATLD, RNTCP, WHO, …& along with our partners and colleagues around the world share successes in TB prevention and control and raise awareness towards the elimination of this devastating disease where we call TB “history.” CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB (DGHT) is on the frontlines in more than 25 high burden countries working with partner governments to find, cure, and prevent TB and help sustain country efforts.

What are the Steps/efforts taken by the Indian Government for controlling TB?

What are the Steps efforts taken by the Indian Government for controlling TB

  1. NIKSHAY Scheme: To facilitate TB notification, RNTCP has developed a case-based web-based TB surveillance system called NIKSHAY for both government and private health care facilities. Future enhancements under NIKSHAY are for patients support, logistics management, direct data transfers, adherence support and to support interface agencies which are supporting programme to expand the reach.
  2. Public-private Mix (partnership): For the promotion of public-private mix (PPM) in TB prevention and care, private providers are provided incentives for TB case notification, and for ensuring treatment adherence and treatment completion. The incentives are provided through direct beneficiary transfer. Indian government gives incentives to the Private Sector who are TB Care Providers. Free drugs and diagnostic tests for TB patients in the private sector.
  3. National strategic plan((NSP) for tuberculosis elimination 2017-2025 by RNTCP
  4. To eliminate TB in India by 2025, five years ahead of the global target, a framework to guide the activities is formulated by RNTCP as National Strategic Plan(NSP) for Tuberculosis Elimination 2017-2025.

According to the NSP TB elimination have been integrated into the four strategic pillars of “Detect – Treat – Prevent – Build” (DTPB).

1. Detect:

Notification of all TB patients from all health care providers is made mandatory by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India since 2012. Rapid Diagnosis & treatment of TB is important. Otherwise, TB can spread in family & community causing suffering and often death without quality treatment. For TB diagnosis more than 14,000 designated microscopy centres spread across the country. Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (CBNAAT) / Line Probe Assay (LPA) has been established at district levels for decentralised molecular testing for drug-resistant TB.

2. Treat:

Sustaining all TB patients on appropriate anti TB treatment wherever they seek care, with a patient-friendly system and social support. Provision of free TB drugs in the form of daily fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) for all TB cases is advised with the support of directly observed treatment (DOT).

3. Prevent:

It is rightly said prevention is better than cure.


With the objective to prevent the emergence of TB in a susceptible population, various measures are taken by the Government such as: 

  • BCG vaccination– It is provided at birth or as early as possible till one year of age. BCG vaccine has a protective effect against meningitis and disseminated TB in children.
  • Scale-up air-borne infection control measures at health care facilities
  • Treatment for latent TB infection in contacts of bacteriologically-confirmed cases
  • Address social determinants of TB through an intersectoral approach like poverty, malnutrition, urbanization, indoor air pollution, etc. require inter-departmental/ ministerial coordinated activities and the programme is proactively facilitating this coordination.

4. Build:

Health system strengthening for TB control under the National Strategic Plan 2017-2025 is recommended in the form of building and strengthening enabling policies, empowering institutions and human resources with enhanced capacities. All the people at a workplace or home should be encouraged about their health maintenance and must know about the prevention of tuberculosis.

Last, but not least, I must say –World Tuberculosis Day reminds us that it is a fight to be jointly fought consistently by all of us against a deadly disease that can surely be cured through proper medical treatment, awareness & health care management & help the sufferers globally.

World TB Day different annual themes

Each World TB Day addresses a different theme. The following is a list of annual themes:

1997Use DOTS more widely2010On the move against TB: Innovate towards action
1998DOTS success stories2011On the move against TB: Transforming the fight towards elimination
1999Stop TB, use DOTS2012Stop TB in my lifetime Call for a world free of TB
2000Forging new partnerships to Stop TB2013Stop TB in my lifetime Call for a world free of TB
2001DOTS: TB cure for all2014Reach the three million A TB test, treatment and cure for all
2002Stop TB, fight poverty2015Reach, Treat, Cure Everyone
2003DOTS cured me – it will cure you too!2016Find TB. Treat TB. Working together to eliminate TB
2004Every breath counts – Stop TB now!2017Unite to End TB
2005Frontline TB care providers: Heroes in the fight against TB2018Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world
2006Actions for life – Towards a world free of TB2019“It’s Time”
2007TB anywhere is TB everywhere2020It’s time to End TB!
2008I am stopping TB2021The Clock is Ticking
2009I am stopping TB  

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